Look and feel
Acer’s Iconia Tab A110 may be chunky but it feels solid, aside from a tiny bit of creaking along the left edge. We prefer the Nexus 7’s rubber rear, but the brushed silver chassis has a certain charm.
Ease of Use
Android Jelly Bean makes for a smooth, slick experience, and the touchscreen is suitably responsive. Sadly the seven-inch screen is too dim to comfortably use when daylight is involved.
Along with the latest version of Android, you get a couple of bundled games. There’s no rear-facing camera and frankly we don’t miss it, but the Iconia Tab A110 still has a front-facing lens for Skyping.
The quad-core processor runs the latest games smoothly, barring one or two tiny jitters here and there.
You’ll get just over five hours of battery life when streaming movies on the Iconia Tab A110, or six to seven hours if you simply browse the web and play with basic apps.
Acer’s Iconia Tab A110 is one of its dinkiest tablets yet, at a diminutive seven inches, and with a price under £200 it’s competing with the slew of budget tabs hitting the market. But with the Nexus 7 by Asus bagging our first five-star review and the Apple iPad Mini on its way, can the Iconia Tab A110 do enough to stand out from the crowd?
Aside from a slight creaking when the left edge is squeezed (where the front panel joins onto the rear), the Iconia Tab A110 is solidly built. We found we could toss it into a bag when we hit the road, without worrying about the screen or brushed silver chassis emerging with scratches or nicks. It feels chunkier than rivals such as the Nexus 7 by Asus, mostly because of its rectangular design. We quite liked the feel of it, thanks to its satisfying weight and compact size which makes it easy to grip, but we’d have preferred a rubberised rear like the Nexus 7.
Ports and buttons are well spaced-out across the Iconia Tab A110’s edges. The power and volume buttons are easy to access, with the Mini HDMI and Micro USB ports found on the opposite side. You also have a Micro SD memory card slot for expanding the 8GB of built-in storage (a standard amount for a tablet at this price point).
Android Jelly Bean
We’re pleased to see Android Jelly Bean 4.1 already installed on the Iconia Tab A110, so you’re up to date with the latest version right out of the box. The interface hasn’t been tweaked much by Acer, although you do get a shortcuts bar for your favourite apps, which stays glued to the bottom of the screen (rotate the tablet to landscape mode and the icons remain on that edge).
Jelly Bean runs as smoothly as you’d expect and and as usual can be fully customised with apps and widgets. Our only gripe is that the bar which indicates which desktop you’re on is a little tough to see, but with only five desktops to play with you’re unlikely to get lost.
Games and media
Like the Nexus 7, this tablet packs away a quad-core nVidia Tegra 3 processor, making it well suited to playing the latest games. Aside from a couple of tiny stutters, the likes of Dead Trigger and Horn ran smoothly with refreshingly short loading times. The touchscreen is perfectly responsive, again well suited to action titles. You get a couple of titles bundled (Ice Age Village and Real Football 2012) but can download plenty more from the Google Play and nVidia TegraZone stores.
Unfortunately the Iconia Tab A110’s seven-inch screen could do with being a lot brighter, especially as it’s highly reflective when you have bright lights beaming down on you. It’s also not as sharp as the Nexus 7’s, with poor vertical viewing angles – tilt the tablet down a notch and the screen instantly darkens. However, the display’s still crisp enough to enjoy videos streamed via YouTube, iPlayer and other online services. You’ll get just over five hours of battery life if you’re watching movies and a little more if you stick to browsing the web and playing with basic apps. Again, the Nexus 7 has the Iconia Tab A110 beat here.
Banish the camera
While most tablet manufacturers seem to build in a rear-facing camera just for the sake of it, Acer has abolished the snapper to cut down costs. We’ve seen a few people taking snaps with their tablets in the wild, but considering the usual iffy quality, and the fact that cameraphones are a lot more wieldy, we’re glad Acer has done away with it. You still get a front-facing lens for Skyping, which personally we find a lot more useful.
Acer’s Iconia Tab A110 is the latest in a growing number of budget tablets, coming in at under £200, and offers good value for money thanks to its quad-core processor. Packing the latest version of Android, you’ll enjoy a smooth experience whether you’re browsing the web or playing around with apps. Unfortunately the screen isn’t a patch on the Nexus 7’s, and Asus’ baby is even cheaper than the A110, making it our preferred gaming and media device.